cover image Bone Deep

Bone Deep

Randy Wayne White. Putnam, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-399-15813-1

The current controversy over phosphate mining provides the backdrop for bestseller White’s solid 21st Doc Ford novel (after 2013’s Night Moves). The marine biologist and former government operative receives a visit from Duncan “Dunk” Fallsdown, a Crow Indian from Montana, at his home in Sanibel Island, Fla. Dunk is searching for two black soapstone carvings that disappeared from tribal lands almost 60 years earlier. Doc’s sidekick, Tomlinson, is behind Dunk’s visit, and likewise behind the trio’s eventual visit to Albright Key, home of phosphate magnate Leland Albright. Leland gives Doc a lesson in the relationship between phosphate mining and fossil hunting, while the others party with Leland’s wife and twin daughters. A descent into the world of overzealous and unethical fossil collectors leads to a boat-napping, stolen artifacts, and increasingly dire threats from a mentally disturbed and physically disfigured biker. As usual, White does a fine job detailing Florida’s unique history and geography, though this isn’t one of Doc’s most suspenseful adventures. Author tour. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Mar.)